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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - HEBREWS 4
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    CHAPTER 4

    Heb 4:1-16. THE PROMISE OF GOD'S REST IS FULLY REALIZED THROUGH CHRIST: LET US STRIVE TO OBTAIN IT BY HIM, OUR SYMPATHIZING HIGH PRIEST.

    1. Let us . . . fear--not with slavish terror, but godly "fear and trembling" (Php 2:12). Since so many have fallen, we have cause to fear (Heb 3:17-19).
    - being left us--still remaining to us after the others have, by neglect, lost it.
    - his rest--God's heavenly rest, of which Canaan is the type. "To-day" still continues, during which there is the danger of failing to reach the rest. "To-day," rightly used, terminates in the rest which, when once obtained, is never lost (Re 3:12). A foretaste of the rest Is given in the inward rest which the believer's soul has in Christ.
    - should seem to come short of it--Greek, "to have come short of it"; should be found, when the great trial of all shall take place [ALFORD], to have fallen short of attaining the promise. The word "seem" is a mitigating mode of expression, though not lessening the reality. BENGEL and OWEN take it, Lest there should be any semblance or appearance of falling short.

    2. gospel preached . . . unto them--in type: the earthly Canaan, wherein they failed to realize perfect rest, suggesting to them that they should look beyond to the heavenly land of rest, to which faith is the avenue, and from which unbelief excludes, as it did from the earthly Canaan.
    - the word preached--literally, "the word of hearing": the word heard by them.
    - not being mixed with faith in them that heard--So the Syriac and the Old Latin Versions, older than any of our manuscripts, and LUCIFER, read, "As the world did not unite with the hearers in faith." The word heard being the food which, as the bread of life, must pass into flesh and blood through man's appropriating it to himself in faith. Hearing alone is of as little value as undigested food in a bad stomach [THOLUCK]. The whole of oldest extant manuscript authority supports a different reading, "unmingled as they were (Greek accusative case agreeing with 'them') in faith with its hearers," that is, with its believing, obedient hearers, as Caleb and Joshua. So "hear" is used for "obey" in the context, Heb 4:7, "To-day, if ye will hear His voice." The disobedient, instead of being blended in "the same body," separated themselves as Korah: a tacit reproof to like separatists from the Christian assembling together (Heb 10:25; Jude 19).

    3. For--justifying his assertion of the need of "faith," Heb 4:2.
    - we which have believed--we who at Christ's coming shall be found to have believed.
    - do enter--that is, are to enter: so two of the oldest manuscripts and LUCIFER and the old Latin. Two other oldest manuscripts read, "Let us enter."
    - into rest--Greek, "into the rest" which is promised in the ninety-fifth Psalm.
    - as he said--God's saying that unbelief excludes from entrance implies that belief gains an entrance into the rest. What, however, Paul mainly here dwells on in the quotation is that the promised "rest" has not yet been entered into. At Heb 4:11 he again, as in Heb 3:12-19 already, takes up faith as the indispensable qualification for entering it.
    - although, &c.--Although God had finished His works of creation and entered on His rest from creation long before Moses' time, yet under that leader of Israel another rest was promised, which most fell short of through unbelief; and although the rest in Canaan was subsequently attained under Joshua, yet long after, in David's days, God, in the ninety-fifth Psalm, still speaks of the rest of God as not yet attained. THEREFORE, there must be meant a rest still future, namely, that which "remaineth for the people of God" in heaven, Heb 4:3-9, when they shall rest from their works, as God did from His, Heb 4:10. The argument is to show that by "My rest," God means a future rest, not for Himself, but for us.
    - finished--Greek, "brought into existence," "made."

    4. he spake--God (Ge 2:2).
    - God did rest the seventh day--a rest not ending with the seventh day, but beginning then and still continuing, into which believers shall hereafter enter. God's rest is not a rest necessitated by fatigue, nor consisting in idleness, but is that upholding and governing of which creation was the beginning [ALFORD]. Hence Moses records the end of each of the first six days, but not of the seventh.
    - from all his works--Hebrew, Ge 2:2, "from all His work." God's "work" was one, comprehending, however, many "works."

    5. in this place--In this passage of the Psalm again, it is implied that the rest was even then still future.

    6. it remaineth--still to be realized.
    - some must enter--The denial of entrance to unbelievers is a virtual promise of entrance to those that believe. God wishes not His rest to be empty, but furnished with guests (Lu 14:23).
    - they to whom it was first preached entered not--literally, "they who first (in the time of Moses) had the Gospel preached to them," namely, in type, see on Heb 4:2.
    - unbelief--Greek, rather "disobedience" (see on Heb 3:18).

    7. Again--Anew the promise recurs. Translate as the Greek order is, "He limited a certain day, 'To-day.'" Here Paul interrupts the quotation by, "In (the Psalm of) David saying after so long a time (after five hundred years' possession of Canaan)," and resumes it by, "as it has been said before (so the Greek oldest manuscript, before, namely, Heb 3:7, 15), To-day if ye hear His voice," &c. [ALFORD].

    8. Answer to the objection which might be made to his reasoning, namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua (so "Jesus" here means, as in Ac 7:45) did enter the rest of God. If the rest of God meant Canaan, God would not after their entrance into that land, have spoken (or speak [ALFORD]) of another (future) day of entering the rest.

    9. therefore--because God "speaks of another day" (see on Heb 4:8).
    - remaineth--still to be realized hereafter by the "some (who) must enter therein" (Heb 4:6), that is, "the people of God," the true Israel who shall enter into God's rest ("My rest," Heb 4:3). God's rest was a Sabbatism; so also will ours be.
    - a rest--Greek, "Sabbatism." In time there are many Sabbaths, but then there shall be the enjoyment and keeping of a Sabbath-rest: one perfect and eternal. The "rest" in Heb 4:8 is Greek, "catapausis;" Hebrew, "Noah"; rest from weariness, as the ark rested on Ararat after its tossings to and fro; and as Israel, under Joshua, enjoyed at last rest from war in Canaan. But the "rest" in this Heb 4:9 is the nobler and more exalted (Hebrew) "Sabbath" rest; literally, "cessation": rest from work when finished (Heb 4:4), as God rested (Re 16:17). The two ideas of "rest" combined, give the perfect view of the heavenly Sabbath. Rest from weariness, sorrow, and sin; and rest in the completion of God's new creation (Re 21:5). The whole renovated creation shall share in it; nothing will there be to break the Sabbath of eternity; and the Triune God shall rejoice in the work of His hands (Zep 3:17). Moses, the representative of the law, could not lead Israel into Canaan: the law leads us to Christ, and there its office ceases, as that of Moses on the borders of Canaan: it is Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, who leads us into the heavenly rest. This verse indirectly establishes the obligation of the Sabbath still; for the type continues until the antitype supersedes it: so legal sacrifices continued till the great antitypical Sacrifice superseded it, As then the antitypical heavenly Sabbath-rest will not be till Christ, our Gospel Joshua, comes, to usher us into it, the typical earthly Sabbath must continue till then. The Jews call the future rest "the day which is all Sabbath."

    10. For--justifying and explaining the word "rest," or "Sabbatism," just used (see on Heb 4:9).
    - he that is entered--whosoever once enters.
    - his rest--God's rest: the rest prepared by God for His people [ESTIUS]. Rather, "His rest": the man's rest: that assigned to him by God as his. The Greek is the same as that for "his own" immediately after.
    - hath ceased--The Greek aorist is used of indefinite time, "is wont to cease," or rather, "rest": rests. The past tense implies at the same time the certainty of it, as also that in this life a kind of foretaste in Christ is already given [GROTIUS] (Jer 6:16; Mt 11:28, 29). Our highest happiness shall, according to this verse, consist in our being united in one with God, and moulded into conformity with Him as our archetype [CALVIN].
    - from his own works--even from those that were good and suitable to the time of doing work. Labor was followed by rest even in Paradise (Ge 2:3, 15). The work and subsequent rest of God are the archetype to which we should be conformed. The argument is: He who once enters rest, rests from labors; but God's people have not yet rested from them, therefore they have not yet entered the rest, and so it must be still future. ALFORD translates, "He that entered into his (or else God's, but rather 'his'; Isa 11:10, 'His rest': 'the joy of the Lord,' Mt 25:21, 23) rest (namely, Jesus, our Forerunner, Heb 4:14; 6:20, 'The Son of God that is passed through the heavens': in contrast to Joshua the type, who did not bring God's people into the heavenly rest), he himself (emphatical) rested from his works (Heb 4:4), as God (did) from His own" (so the Greek, "works"). The argument, though generally applying to anyone who has entered his rest, probably alludes to Jesus in particular, the antitypical Joshua, who, having entered His rest at the Ascension, has ceased or rested from His work of the new creation, as God on the seventh day rested from the work of physical creation. Not that He has ceased to carry on the work of redemption, nay, He upholds it by His mediation; but He has ceased from those portions of the work which constitute the foundation; the sacrifice has been once for all accomplished. Compare as to God's creation rest, once for all completed, and rested from, but now still upheld (see on Heb 4:4).

    11. Let us . . . therefore--Seeing such a promise is before us, which we may, like them, fall short of through unbelief.
    - labour--Greek, "strive diligently."
    - that rest--which is still future and so glorious. Or, in ALFORD'S translation of Heb 4:10, "That rest into which Christ has entered before" (Heb 4:14; Heb 6:20).
    - fall--with the soul, not merely the body, as the rebel Israelites fell (Heb 3:17).
    - after the same example--ALFORD translates, "fall into the same exam

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